Erdogan calls on EU to focus on domestic politics, not Turkey
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the steps taken by the European Union to mount pressure on Turkey and called on European countries to focus on their domestic politics.
Daily Sabah reports in its article Erdogan calls on EU to focus on domestic politics, not Turkey that speaking at the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) weekly parliamentary group meeting yesterday, Erdogan said the EU is struggling to hold itself together while shaking its finger at Turkey at every opportunity. "They have trimmed funds lately. You should first focus on clear terrorists out of your country and form your own governments," Erdoğan said, referring to the EU recently cutting pre-accession funds to Ankara and Germany's efforts to form a government, which have failed.
With Turkey's relations with the EU countries strained, particularly with Germany, the EU recently announced that it had decided to cut funding projected to be paid in 2018 to Ankara by some 105 million euros. The EU said it made the decision because of the political developments in Turkey. Ankara reacted to the decision, saying that the EU is using the funds as a political tool in an effort to impose pressure on the country.
Commenting on the funding cut, the deputy prime minister in charge of the economy, Mehmet Şimşek, said: "A 105 million euro cut in the EU funds is not important economically. Turkey uses 178 billion euros in gross external finance annually."
Ankara has been criticizing Germany for its hard-line policy on Turkey, which accelerated during the run up to its Sept. 24 elections. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would negotiate the issue of Ankara's EU bid with the other EU leaders. Turkish officials said politicians should not sacrifice relations with Turkey in order to gain votes and that Ankara would not succumb to the pressure. Even though the relations between Ankara and Berlin have been strained for a long time now, both sides have been underlining the necessity of dialogue to reach resolutions and wind down disputes. The meeting of the countries' foreign ministers in Antalya in early November raised hopes for thawing the ties. Meanwhile, Germany has been struggling to form a government as Merkel's efforts to form a Jamaica coalition failed on Sunday when the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) left the negotiations. Following the failed coalition talks, new challenges loom for Merkel. Commenting on the issue, Merkel hinted at new elections rather than forming a minority government.